Jacob Potofsky, garment worker, labor organizer and leader, Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union.
Jacob Potofsky was born in Radomisl, Ukraine, in 1894. He emigrated to the United States in 1905 and began working in a Chicago men's clothing factory in 1908. He became active in labor matters and took part in the 1910 strike against Hart, Schaffner and Marx that led to the organization of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA). He served as an official in ACWA Local 144 and on the Chicago Joint Board before moving to New York to work as assistant general secretary-treasurer for the national union.
Potofsky held a number of positions within the ACWA, including assistant president and general secretary-treasurer. He became the union's president in 1946 after the death of Sidney Hillman, and served in that position until his retirement in 1972. During much of his tenure, the union experienced growth, particularly during the 1950s. Organizing in the South, which had begun before World War II, continued to provide the ACWA with new members, and the first local in Puerto Rico received its charter in 1959. Retail clerks and laundry workers began to affiliate with the ACWA, and pay and benefits steadily increased. But the union's size and strength had begun to wane significantly by the time of Potofsky's retirement, as more garment manufacturers moved their operations overseas.
From the description of Jacob Potofsky presidential correspondence, 1946-1974, 1960-1970 (bulk). (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 63892429